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5 Factors To Consider Before Appointing An Agent

Using a power of attorney to appoint an agent to legally act on your behalf can be very convenient. Though sometimes this document can be abused or used in fraudulent transactions, there are ways to protect yourself from being defrauded.
You should choose your agent with care. Only appoint some one you trust. Be wary of so called professionals that carry fancy titles such as "asset manager" or "investment advisor". Good candidates for your agent would be people like a trusted friend, family member, lawyer, or even an accountant. You should have no conflicts of interest with your agent and there should be a sense of loyalty.
A lot of people make the mistake of appointing an agent with a general power of attorney. This document will allow your agent to act on your behalf in any matter he or she wishes. Personally, I wouldn't appoint an agent with a general power of attorney unless maybe it was my mother. Issuing a limited or specific power of attorney will restrict your agent to only activities or specific events when you say they can act on your behalf. For example if you wanted to appoint your brother as your agent only to sell your car for you, then you could do that with a limited power of attorney form. You could also include things such as he couldn't sell the car for under two-thousand dollars. You can stipulate anything you want.
Stipulating an expiry date is also a good technique to protect you from having problems with a disgruntled agent later. If you specify an expiry date on the form then later on you won't need a revocation to take away the powers you gave to your agent. In rare cases when agents have gone bad they have usually done so many years down the road when their appointee becomes elderly and nearing their deathbed. Having a specific date when the power of attorney form expires will prevent this from happening to you.
Another good practice to follow is to monitor the actions of your agent. Many people often give their agent powers to dip into their finances. Bankers may develop a personal relationship with your agent and no longer scrutinize them like before. You may revoke the powers given to your agent but that personal relationship is still there. That's why you should always give any one your agent had a relationship with on your behalf a copy of the revocation. Also, orally discussing the revocation is also a good idea.
Filing a power of attorney form is a rather simple process. It is not required that a lawyer draft this document. Most people just file this form themselves.
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